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Shabbat Shalom from the desert!

Elana and I decided we needed a break, so we did what David did when he was under assault. We went to the Dead Sea overnight. Friday is Israel’s Saturday, and Saturday is our Sunday, and Sunday is the first day of the work week, like Monday. 

We went hiking at Wadi Peritzim. Wadi is Arabic for a dry riverbed, and Pertzim means breakthrough. The Wadi Pertzim has some of the most beautiful walls created by water eroding into the soft rocks over a few thousand years. (See the pictures!) The floor is accessible for walking or even biking.


Understanding Israeli in a Story

This one story can help you understand the mentality of nearly every Israeli. Inside the Wadi Peritzim is a short cave called the Flour Cave. Because the rock is so soft, it has been closed off to hikers for many years. When we arrived, we asked a couple of hikers how long it takes to get to the cave. “You hike about 10 minutes until you see the sign that say, ‘do not enter.’ That is where you go in.”  That describes the Israeli mindset to the tee. If you want to see an invention, tell an Israeli it can’t be done. 


A Second Story

After we hiked, we decided to go to a hotel and get lunch. This story illustrates the big heart that is really have. When we went in, Elana started talking to an older couple (now that I’m almost 60, I have to redefine older, since I still feel like I’m 36). They were mifanim (evacuees). They had been living in the hotel for over four months, as they were evacuated from their home in the south shortly after October 7. They live in Sderot, the largest city (now a ghost town) near the Gaza border. They told us how, on October 7, there were terrorists in the streets. Their son took his gun and went down to protect the city. He survived and was able to tell of neutralizing several terrorists. 

They invited us to eat lunch with him. “My cousin is staying next to us in room 206,” said the husband. “They’re in Jerusalem for the day. We’ll just tell them that you’re from room 206.” Now I know what you’re thinking, that’s dishonest. But you must understand Middle East hospitality. They couldn’t host us in their own home because they have no home. Plus, most Israelis look at rules as mere suggestions. We enjoyed a great meal with them. 

Albert was born in Morocco and married Bathsheba when they were both 20. They had their first child at 21 and are now in their 70s. “We are true Zionists,” he shared with pride. I know the word Zionist has become a dirty word for some. Antisemites would have you believe it means “racist.” But it simply refers to Jewish people returning to their ancient homeland to settle it. In our Declaration of Independence, we offered peace to our Arab neighbors. We’ve been offering peace ever since and they respond with war. He meant the “Zionists” in the sense that he was willing to live in a city only a few kilometers from tens of thousands of people who would not hesitate to murder him and his wife. 


Living in a Hotel

I began to imagine what it would be like to live in a Dead Sea hotel for four months. Don’t get me wrong, the Dead Sea region is by far my favorite area in Israel. If you’ve never been on top of Masada or seen the waterfalls of En Gedi, then you’re missing out. Out here, you can see the ibexes roaming on the side of mountains and you can float in the Dead Sea. I know King David had been here for some time while Saul was trying to kill him, but there is nothing here. I’d love to spend a week here just hiking. Even two weeks. But four months! It’s just desert out here. The good news is that Albert and Bathsheba are finally going home next week.

I know some people say their plight is far better than the Arabs of Gaza. I agree. But we did not ask to be attacked. We gave up Gaza 20 years ago. Had they not killed 1,200 Israelis in cold blood, taking 246 hostages (over 100 are still there), the destruction that has fallen them would not have accored. Hamas invited the wrath of Israel. Even today, they could return our hostages, and the hostilities would probably stop. But they do not care about their own people dying. 


Governor of NY Used Common Sense

New York Governor Kathy Hochul got in trouble the other day. Never underestimate the mob when you’re about to state the obvious. In speaking to a Jewish group a few days ago, she had the audacity to say that Hamas must be stopped

“If Canada someday ever attacked Buffalo, I’m sorry my friends, there would be no Canada the next day, right, right? But think about that, that is a natural reaction. You have a right to defend yourself and to make sure it never happens again, and that is Israel’s right.”

I’m not sure what the controversy is about. Imagine if Canada killed thousands of Americans. With America being roughly 30 times larger than Israel, that would be 36,000 Americans. And the number of hostages would be over 7,000! It’s a logical question. What would America do? Let’s just say, I would not want to be Canada. But the mob came after her, and she was forced to apologize.  


Shabbat Shalom!

But enough about the war. We came to the Dead Sea to forget about it for 24 hours and enjoy the Sabbath. Tomorrow, we will go to En Gedi and Wadi En Boqek and then back to Ashkelon to get ready for Sunday night. Thanks to you, we will host about 230 Israelis in Tel Aviv; 100 soldiers serving in the north and their wives and children. 

Thank you for keeping us in prayer and supporting this crucial mission. Bless you from the Dead Sea!

Shabbat Shalom!

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Shalom from Israel! I am Ron Cantor and this is my blog. I serve as the President of Shelanu TV.

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